Read all posts from July 2011

  • President Obama addresses the need to reduce the nation’s deficit while creating jobs across the country and wishes Americans a happy Fourth of July.

    Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

  • When my kids think of community service, they think about picking up trash along the road, visiting the animal shelter and collecting food – all of which are good things, but I don’t know that they actually have learned why we do – or should do – community service or understand the importance of community service to the beneficiaries.  Now they do.

    Together, Girl Scout troop 2255 and Boy Scout troop 888 chose to do a community service learning project that was not only worthy of the time and effort, but also a great deal of fun. The kids chose to do Operation Honor Card and commit community service hours in the name of soldiers recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

    Documentary filmmaker Chris Barrett captured the Scouts on film, watch the video here.

  • A quick look at the week of June 27th, on and beyond.
    Farewell Tribute in Honor of Secretary Gates at the Pentagon

    Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, President Barack Obama, and Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates salute as troops parade past the reviewing stand during the Armed Forces Farewell Tribute in honor of Secretary Gates at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., June 30, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    The Economy and the Debt Limit: Speaking at his press conference on Wednesday, the president announced that “Now is the time to go ahead and make the tough choices.”

    Twitter Town Hall: President Obama will hold a Twitter town hall at the White House next Wednesday, July 6 at 2 p.m. EDT use the hashtag #AskObama to get your question in.

    Weekly Address: President Obama discussed the vital role of advanced man

  • This Independence Day, you can join First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden in supporting our troops, military families, and veterans by getting involved with Joining Forces. 

    Here’s a few things you can do right now:

    • Operation Honor Card. You can get involved right now through Operation Honor Card – an effort to encourage Americans to support our military families by participating in service projects to serve those who serve us. At, you can pledge hours of community service, find service projects in your area, and track your progress. 
    • Send a Message of Thanks. A simple act of kindness can mean so much. Say thanks to a military family today.
    • Share Your Story of Support. How are you serving our nation’s military families? Tell us your story.
    • Stay ConnectedThere are plenty of ways to stay connected with Joining Forces.  You can sign up for email updates, like Joining Forces on Facebook, or follow @JoiningForces on Twitter.

  • This summer, the White House Office of Public Engagement is hosting Community Leaders Briefings. These events, held weekly at the White House, bring together leaders and activists from communities all across the country for an opportunity to discuss common challenges and learn how the government can help them as they work to improve their neighborhoods. Last week, the participants got to hear from a speaker who happens to know a little something about community organizing: The President of the United States.

    The President recalled his time working on the south side of Chicago and noted that these briefings were a means to ensure that activists, organizers, and leaders throughout the country were aware of the ways in which the government could lend a hand. 

    Lauren Kelly is Associate Director of the Office of Public Engagement.

  • On June 9th, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing the first White House Rural Council. While rural communities face challenges, they also present economic potential. The Council will address these challenges, build on the Administration’s rural economic strategy, and improve the implementation of that strategy.

    The Council, chaired by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, was established to focus on policy initiatives for Rural Americans and will coordinate to increase the effectiveness of federal engagement with tribal governments. According to the 2010 U.S. Decennial Census, 42.6 percent of all Native Americans live in rural areas. In addition, some reservations face unemployment rates of up to 80 percent. The Council will work across federal agencies to address these challenges and promote economic prosperity and quality of life in Indian Country and across rural America. The Council will work to break down silos and find areas for better collaboration and improved flexibility in government programs and will work closely with state, local and tribal governments, non-profits, and the private sector to leverage federal support.

    Plans are already underway for the Council to address ways to expand access to capital in rural communities, including an examination of the unique challenges facing Indian Country in increasing the flow of credit to Indian reservations. Economic development and job creation in Indian Country—and in all other sectors of the U.S. economy—depend on access to capital. When credit-worthy business owners can easily borrow to finance business start-up and expansion, the economy thrives. One thing we hear from tribal leaders, however, is that borrowing money for business development in Indian Country is difficult. The reasons range from difficulties in using tribal land as collateral, to the small number of lending institutions serving Indian Country, to lenders’ perceptions that lending to tribal members or tribal governments is risky.

  • Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This week, The President spoke about innovation in Pittsburgh, PA, visited an advanced manufacturing facility in Iowa, held a news conference in the East Room and welcomed champion soccer and basketball teams to the White House. That's June 24th to June 30th or "Magic Mountains and Volcanoes."

    Watch West Wing Week here.

    Find out more about the topics covered in this edition of West Wing Week: